Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Australian Labor Government ceases pay rates review

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According to the SMH ( the new Labor government has requested that the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) should cease to review junior wages and overall pay scales, thus dropping the previous Liberal governments initiative. The Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard terminated the review “pending establishment of the new industrial umpire, Fair Work Australia, in 2010”.
I cant help thinking there is a lot of political deception in this decision. Is it possible that the incoming government is worried about:
1. The possibility that ‘real inflation’ might be raised, given the increase in prices
2. It wants to avoid the need to address any disparity in youth wages
Would it not be better to complete a review already committed to, and might any findings be used as a basis for its policy. Why do young workers have to wait until 2010 for a resolution – that means any policy intiative will come after the next election. How convenient!
Gillard said that “awards would be modernised and simplified by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) from early 2008”. The government argues that “the AFPC's review of pay scales and junior and training wages will both overlap with and duplicate the [AIRC] award modernisation process”. So why not fold the role of the ARPC into the AIRC. Its politics. I suggest the reason is that the previous committee was stacked full of Liberal MPs, which only highlights the reality that, parliamentary committees are not object fact-finding processes. On the contrary, having submitted a number of submissions to such committees, its evident that such proceedings mean very little. Its all about political clout. So where is the objectivity in parliament if not in the parliamentary committees, which get very little public scrutiny. Well there isn’t any.
Gillard suggested that ”the various reviews being conducted by the previous Liberal government was a piecemeal approach”. But having been in government for 11 years, might a little tinkering be all that is required? So what is Labor going to do? Apparently “modernising and simplify more than 4,300 awards”. Well perhaps its warranted, but that strikes me as tinkering, not a profound policy shift. Hence my belief that Labor is just deferring action. Trying to be uncontroversial. Might they have a confidence problem? Do they have any substantive policy. Secretly I think they are very happy with what the Liberals have given them. Interestingly, I would suggest the Liberals lost the election at precisely the right time. Labour will oversee the ‘period of pain’.
- Andrew Sheldon

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Australians named worst emitters

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According to BBN News (source Australia is the world’s worst emiiter of CO2 gases. Well I have 2 basic responses to this:
1. So what? And…
2. Why should that be surprise?
The first issue is whether Australia is threatening the globe by producing more CO2. Its an over-simplification to say that CO2 is pollution, when it exists naturally in the atmosphere and is a fertilizer for plants. They need it to live. Are we not then greening the planet? The argument will be made that we are upsetting the natural balance. But the earth was never in balance. The Earth’s CO2 concentrations have been bouncing around for years without any threat to man. Are we too powerful now? There is too little evidence to say? We could be on the precipice of an Ice Age, which occur every 5000 years. So maybe Australia producing CO2 is actually a good thing. The computer models run by the climatology ‘experts’ are so out of sync with reality, that they are not worth the paper they are printed on. They are truly on a steep learning curve. So what should we do to on a policy level:
1. Increase awareness of the benefits of saving energy
2. Create incentives for people to buy energy efficient light bulbs, eg. Information on packaging that tells people which bulb is the cheapest over its economic life
3. There are easy way Australians and everyone else can save energy. The next issue – should we be surprised Australia is the worst emitter per capita?
4. No, its logical. There are several reasons why we have high energy consumption:
5. Travel distances are huge – big issue
6. Australiians live on larger 600-1200m2 suburban lots compared to 60-250m2 in Tokyo, Manila or elsewhere, so our cities are big relative to their population –big issue
7. Australia doesn’t have a very good train system
8. Australia has a lot of cows that produce methane
9. Australia has a high proportion of coal-fired power stations because it has ample cheap coal up the east coast where the population lives – big issue
10. Australia has no nuclear power stations
11. Australia is the driest continent in the world, so we have the lowest capacity to generate hydro electric electricity
12. Australia's natural gas resources (until coal seam gas was recognized) have historically been very remote and offshore for power generation
13. Australia consumes a lot of energy in metal processing, eg. Alumina refineries, etc.

Australia did not select the determinants of ‘pollution’. Consider water vapour, its also a greenhouse gas, and Australia has scarcely any of that, but that is not considered in these studies.
Yet there are several reasons why Australia should be better:
1. It spends a lot of money on air conditioning when in fact most of the population lives in a mild climate
2. It hardly produces anything – it is a service economy

3. It could invest more in rail than cars – rail is more efficient, safer, yet its taxed more harshly

But Australians are mostly paying the price for factors they have no control over. The sillyness of the argument is highlighted by the statement “Australian power stations are the least efficient on a per capita basis”. You don’t measure power station efficiency on a population pro rata basis. That’s lunacy. That would imply virtue lied with the poor who used none. Not necessarily you say - we could embrace technology. But we do. We just do it when it makes commercial sense. Alternatively fuelled cars and solar cells are still not efficient enough, so we delay the expense, but I am sure when they do make sense, Australians will embrace them faster than mobile phones. The best way to measure efficiency is compare the energy produced against the cost or lost energy to produce a unit of energy. By those ‘realistic’ measures Australian plants are very modern. We have the electrostatic precipitators to remove particulates and scrubbers to remove nitrous and sulphur dioxides. China has scarcely little of this equipment, and is the world’s worst emitter with the USA (which has the equipment). More incredible is that most new industrial capacity - that consumes the great bulk of energy - is going to be based in China, which will not sign on to Kyoto, nor is it required.
The BBC, a big greenhouse advocate gets its stories from The Carbon Monitoring for Action (Carma) - a green lobby group. So that’s the quality of their journalism. None of the arguments I made above were considered in the BBC article. Their agenda instead is to spread fear where it counts. Not in China, where the people couldn’t care and politicians have no ‘green’ conscious, but in western nations where there is this ‘guilt’ for being human.
Statistics are very easily manipulated. Consider that South Africa produces as much CO2 as Australia, but because of apartheid the bulk of the black population live in poverty, so this lowers the per capita CO2 emissions from South Africa. India is perhaps the most impressive – but that’s because they need to be – they have little energy or money to buy it. Hence they have few trees. Should they not be penalized for lack of birth control? If we are going to talk about carbon footprints – why don’t we look at those countries that burden the world with too many kids? Eg. Catholic and Muslim countries like the Philippines and Nigeria. And what about energy efficiency? The third world is spewing out millions of tonnes of particulates from poorly maintained trucks, tricycles, jeepneys, and what about those oil-fired power stations, using cheap high-sulphur fuel. So why don’t these countries rank highly. Because they have the good fortune to be over-populated and poor, oohh and most of their governments couldn’t care a shit. Emissions are not an electoral issue there. Surprising power failures are not even an electoral issue in the Philippines, but that’s good news right? It saves the environment.
I think it is folly to lack critical analysis of such articles, and at a political level it is folly to apply costs on the economy which undermine productive output, as we are only undermining our capacity to deal with real problems based on ‘real’ evidence. Having said that – there are low cost measures that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions, and that’s mostly a ‘energy cost’ that people should consider more. People don’t think about the lights they leave on, the energy rating of their houses. But that’s because they rely on governments to do it. Governments only get points for the cheap shots. So it comes back to our system of government – democracy sux!
But despite not considering the points above, CARMA has this to say: “We feel quite confident that no-one else has [this power plant] information in such detail”. “In this website, we do not push a particular agenda or outcome”. "In fact, we are very interested to see how people choose to use the data” explained Mr Ummel. I don’t think I have ever seen such blatant misinformation in my life. This guy posits as a scientific authority. It just supports my view that you can’t trust the media, nor even scientific authorities to deliver ‘facts’. Its all lobbying to reach baseless goals, and the problem is our system of government.

Reason is the standard for debate.

- Andrew Sheldon

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Greenhouse Hoax

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On many occasions over the last 100 years the science community has made assertions about natural disasters and impending doom. These assertions have included warnings of mega-tsunamis, meteorites striking the earth, impending ice age, and none of these events have come true as foretold. Thats not to say they can't. The issue is more one of: (i) Perspective, (ii) Facts supporting their evidence, and (iii) the way evidence is presented.

The current assertion warning of global catastrophe is 'global warming' or more precisely the assertion that humans are largely causing global warming. There have been several reasons why I have always been skeptical of this latest threat:

1. The argument that all climate scientists believe there is a global warming phenomena, and that humans are largely the cause of it.

2. The argument that scientists had a high level of understanding of the processes that cause global warming

3. The argument that a computer model was going to predict climate change 100 years into the future when they cant even get a 3 day forecast right

4. The philosophical values that underpin most people's lives. My concern here is that climate scientists are 'normal people' - they are not critical thinkers. They are empiricists who look at sensory evidence from an emotionally charged philosophical context.

5. There has been no 'great debate' where opponents have had an opportunity to present evidence or question the evidence against climate change.

Since forming those conclusions I have always remained open to new evidence that might cast into doubt my existing beliefs. In the last few years there were 3 compelling sources of information that have shaped my opinion:

1. Media articles: Particularly in Japan I was reading weekly articles asserting scientific conclusions that just didn't stand up to scrutiny. Some were even inherently contradictory. There was the occasional article suggesting that scientists had it wrong. One could be forgiven for thinking that the media has no interest in presenting conclusive arguments for or against climate change. I would suggest the media has a vested interest in keeping us in doubt. If you think about it the best story is the one that never dies, that evokes great passions, that poses a great threat, because everyone will be interested in it. There are plenty of 'crackpot' scientists in specialised fields that you can get quotes from to support your cause.

2. Al Gores movie:

3. Global Warming Primer published by the National Center for Policy Analysis. This document grabbed my attention because as a geologist I took great interest in paleo-climates, fossils, and I knew that ancient landscapes could be understood by looking at evidence from rocks. Its interesting that no advocate of 'man-made climate change' has made any assertion or refutation based on rocks that date back billions of years.

suggesting that human I have come across a number of media articles that have reinforced in my mind the belief that scientists still dont know what they are talking about.

4. Personal observation: There are places on earth like China where we are actually seeking 'regional cooling'. China is of course the dirtiest polluter on the planet because its power stations dont remove nitrous oxides and particulate matter from their emissions. Only the newer plants built from the 1990s have these anti-pollutant plant installed.

The last document I read presents several points that reinforce my belief that the dire warnings of climate change are misguided, and that humans are largely to blame. The pertinent arguments are:

1. Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. It accounts for 95% of greenhouse gases. It makes sense that if the earth was naturally warming (in a documented natural cycle) a higher percentage of water would be concentrated in the atmosphere. Humans account for just 0.28% of global greenhouse gases.


PS: I dont give much credence to the assertion that the National Center for Policy Analysis is independent of private money or government agencies.

Reason is the standard for debate.
- Andrew Sheldon

Friday, October 12, 2007

The democratization of the media

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One of the profound shifts in the last few decades has been the concentration of media ownership that has resulted in about 4 large media barons controlling the bulk of the world’s media. The problem with this process is that:

  1. Media content becomes politically motivated
  2. Media content becomes populist drivel
  3. The barrier to entering conventional media markets is very high because of the high costs of publishing and establishing news gathering networks and establishing a brand

But that is all going to change. Internet service providers like promise to transform the media business by allowing anyone to post content on the internet and allowing users to vote on its merits. The implication is that everyone becomes empowered – whether as a content publisher or reader. This mode of media delivery allows people to promote their services as well as critique their opponents. I think this media solution will work better if friendships are based around personal interests – which is usually the case.
If you are interested in how works, see There is further information on the Digg FAQs page -

- Andrew Sheldon

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sleeping with the enemy

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In recent weeks Burmese Buddhist monks mounted a street rally to protest the rise in fuel costs in Burma. The monks were joined by the general population and the protests soon escalated into violence and military intervention as the military junta applied force to return control. Its strategy was to shoot and incarcerate the leaders of the dissidents.
The western reaction to the conflict was to morally condemn the action, though without taking more concrete steps there seems little value in such action. It is apparent that western governments are willing to take action when tyrants breach the rights of a significant number of people, and its fair to say that western governments abhore the Burmese military junta. But historical precedence also suggests that western governments are not prepared to escalate moral outrage to military intervention unless there is a compelling vested interest in doing so. Eg. In the case of Cuba, the US feared regional insecurity and early Russian missile deployment, in Iraq it was concerned about the oil (never mind the press focus on weapons of mass destriuction).

The only benefit from western governments helping Burma would be the goodwill extended by any new government. Given the Buddhist values of Burma, it seems likely that any force applied to the country would likely result in regime change. The question is whether western govrnments are likely to act. The west only applied sanctions the last time this occurred in 1988, when 3000 protesters for democracy were killed. Since then the military junta has retained power. There seems to be little support for the junta within the country, but also little incentive for the west to engage. The likely reason for not intervening in Burma is likely to be Chinese sympathy for the regime. I can see several reasons why the Chinese would support the Burmese junta:
Drug trade through China profits Chinese government officials who likely turn a blind eye to the trade in exchange for kickbacks
China would not like to see a new democratic government in Burma because it would be concerned that any new administration would allign itself with western governments. The implication is that a Burmese government sympathetic with western interests might support US bases. China is unlikely to support any western involvement in the region.

Moral righteousness has never been a compelling reason to engage in military intervention. Morality has become secondary to pragmatic (materialistic) concerns in the global race to advance the interests of your country. Some countries are better than others, and it has to be appreciated that whilst Chinese interests are implicated in supporting the Burmese statist government, they have more at stake given that Burmese is on their doorstep, and not close to western markets. Having said that, the USA gave Cuba’s Fidel Castro a lot harder time than China and Singapore are giving Burma. There are many examples of government duplicity in state politics:

  1. Western countries preparedness to engage in trade and investment with China despite its failure to rectify the debasement of individual rights in the country.
  2. A Japanese company that was recently caught selling intellectual property to North Korea and Syria through a Chinese Malaysian company
  3. France’s provision of weapons to Iraq prior to the Iraqi war
  4. The Singapore government which steadfastly continues to finance development in Burma despite international condemnation
  5. Chinese indifference to the Burmese drug trade which channels Burmese drugs through China to global markets
  6. Western governments complicity in Singaporean and Chinese support for Burmese money-making activities

The latest example is the tacit support of Burma by the Singapore government. The Singaporean government, through its $150 billion state-owned investment house Temasek Holdings, has invested an estimated $3 billion in Burma. Temasek Holdings is controlled by Singapore's powerful Lee family, the most influential being the former president. The question is how should western governments respond to Burma as well as Singapore. Lets consider what the options are:
1. Western governments attack government interests in Burma
2. Western governments apply tighter sanctions to Burma
3. Western governments apply sanctions or freeze Singapore assets. Clearly western governments have a lot of influence here when you consider that Temasek has $3bil invested in Burma, but $20 billion invested in Australia.
4. Western governments doing nothing – ‘minding their own business’

Burma is a very poor country, and it’s a legitimate complaint to suggest that western investments in Burma (such as Singapore’s $3billion go along way to supporting Burma's military junta) play a part in supporting these governments. The question is whether this investment is central to it. Criticism could equally be drawn to China since it effectively helps Burmese by facilitating its drug trade. But don’t expect western governments to undermine their trade interests in China for the sake of Burmese democracy. I would suggest that there is more chance of western intervention if Burmese citizens escalated the conflict. However for cultural reasons I suspect the conflict will ground to a halt. Passivity will return as it did last time.
Singapore's strategy was to build links with Burma in the mid-1990s when other countries were abandoning it. As a result of western withdrawal, Temasek was able to negotiate some very lucrative deals, and were no doubt rewarded for that support. This philosophy of non-judgement and engagement has been characteristic of Asian governments for a long time and is central to Asian attitudes to moral issues. More surprising perhaps is the fact that Singapore has not received any condemnation for its action. The reality is that its not just Singapore that is helping Burma, but a number of other countries interested in its energy resources – offshore gas in particular.

The question is – just what standards should western governments apply to other nations – whether we are talking about brutal dictators or governments that support them. The military junta has a vested interest in most foreign-sponsored investment, so there is no possibility of avoiding junta support. The hotels, airlines, military equipment and training, crowd control equipment and sophisticated telecommunications monitoring devices, are derived from Singaporean inveolvement.
Singaporean companies have provided computers and communications equipment to Burma's defence ministry and army, improving the junta's ability to communicate with regional commanders – thus allowing it to better suppress protesters in Burma’s 20 largest cities. Singapore is the only ASEAN country in a position to provide Burma with this equipment because of its modern armed forces and defence support base. It speaks volumes that Singapore appointed an ambassador to Burma who was previously a senior Singapore Armed Forces officer and prior director of Singapore's Joint Intelligence Directorate. Such a role would be normally filled by a career diplomat. Singapore also helped sponsor the military regime into ASEAN.

But perhaps its worth reflecting on Singapore itself. Its easy to forget that Singapore is itself a authoritarian state, albeit a rich one. There is no question that the Lee family-controlled People's Action Party has been in power for almost five decades because of the economic prosperity it has delivered, but it has also been there because of its entrenched statist policies. Its certain that soft diplomacy was a requirement by Britain, but what about Burma? Is the Singapore leadership adopting any similar standards? Singapore ranks only behind China, Cuba and North Korea in leadership longevity. I don’t think anyone would mind if Burma emerged as another Singapore, but it seems unlikely to tread this path. If Singapore is to profit from Burma perhaps it should be incumbent upon Singapore to act – to turn it into the ‘capitalist state’ that it has become.

Its clear that Singapore plays a greater role than just the supply of weapons and other support for the military. Singapore is a financial base which facilitates trade for Burmese businessmen. By setting up Singaporean accounts Burmese interests are able to evade international constraints such as sanctions. Among these junta cronies are Tay Za and the druglord Lo Hsing Han. Lo is an ethnic Chinese, from the opium-rich Kokang region of East Burma bordering China. Lo is one of Burma's biggest heroin operations, but through Singapore he has been able to legitimatise his activities. Lo's son Steven Han is married to a Singaporean Cecilia Ng. He is also denied permission to enter the US because of his drug links, but they travel without restraint in Singapore. Given the link between Singapore an the heroin trade you might wonder why the USA has not applied more pressure on Singapore to cease and desist in its relationship. Tay Za was last year celebrating the launch of his new airline, Air Bagan, in the company of the Singapore head of aviation.
The question is why is the US and other western governments not pressuring Singapore to end its support for Burmese military junta and drug lords? I think the reason is they don’t do anything without provocation. Otherwise they would have to account for why they didn’t act sooner. You might think that a regime change might end the drug trade, but I suspect they are might conclude it might be worse with private operators. Anyway it will be interesting to see if they act.
I support military intervention in Burma. I think the job could be done quickly. I just don’t see it happening.

- Andrew Sheldon

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Real Inflation

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Its been announced today that the price of eggs are going to rise 50c a carton, milk up 10c per litre, in addition to other foods. The rationale for the increase in prices is said to be the drought, but there are two factors which suggest this is not true:
1. Farmers have said that they will not benefit from the price increase - which suggests its either to cover higher input costs or retailers are in fact getting all the benefit
2. Products which are unlikely affected by drought are facing price increases - eggs and milk being some examples.

The reality is that retailers are pricing products on the basis of people's capacity to pay. Australians have benefited from a huge wealth explosion over the last 15 years as a result of credit expansion. These price increases largely reflect an attempt by business to claw back some of the gains. It thus becomes apparent that any future wage rises were not precipitated by greedy wage earners, but by business trying to claw back earnings at a tim when they are finding it hard to sustain profit growth. The fall off in profit growth is a direct result of a slow down in credit growth, as households worry about falling housing prices and higher inflation.

In these circumstances there are only 2 ways that businesses can build earnings:
1. Higher prices > increasing the prospect of inflation
2. Consolidation of productive capacity > normally results in greater pricing power so higher prices

Clearly in this type of environment if business cannot expand unit capacity then they have to make more profit margin to earn the same profit. From this point forward we are looking at an acceleration of inflation.

In recent years the CPI has been the market measure of inflation. At some point over the next few years people will come to realise that was nothing more than a political tool for facilitating a shift of wealth from households to governments (through tax bracket creep) and business (through higher prices). At some point farmers and unions are going to see the fraudulent nature of this workers start to loose their jobs and farmers are forced off their farms by higher input prices, low farm gate prices and drought.
Reason is the standard for debate.

- Andrew Sheldon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bush to esculate China trade war

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A lot of criticism of China has focused on its trade surplus. This criticism until now has focused on the managed peg of the yuan to the USD. Actually the USA cant use this argument because China is actually financing the US deficit and its done a great deal to reform its financial system in preparation for deregulation. Another justification is that it is reasonable for it to make a slow adjustment so not to penalise any Chinese economic interest group.
But the China debate has taken another turn. There is mounting criticism that the China is discriminating against foreign interests on regulatory policy. The same criticisms were made of Japan from the1970s onwards. Japan was very slow to change, and the US didn’t press the issue because it needed Japanese support in its Cold War stand, as well as an outpost against China. To this day Japan is not an easy place for foreigners to do business. But most of that comes down to the unique tastes (sensitivities) of the Japanese consumer, nationalism and a very unique mode of economic organisation. There is simply not enough room on Japanese store shelves for foreign products, and US-made refrigerators will not fit in a Japanese house.

China continues to report huge trade surpluses which will only continue to grow as the economy expands. But is this really a serious issue? I think not because:
1. China will comply because it is not dealing from strength
2. China is competing with many other countries for foreign direct investment. A trade war would see more of that money go to India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and maybe even Pakistan and Bangladesh.
3. The threat of retaliatory action will come from the EU and USA. Japan will be conspicuously quiet.
4. Its hard to see China getting the same soft treatment as Japan - unless China’s support in dealing with North Korea is required, and I think North Korea is contained, so not an issue.

China’s August exports exceeding imports by $24.97 billion - a surplus exceeded only by June's $26.91 billion. China has opened up much of its economy in recent years since joining the World Trade Organization, considerable restrictions remain on foreign investment in areas including finance, automobile manufacturing, petrochemicals and media, and that some new regulations on mergers and investments also seem intended to aid domestic companies.
But whilst there seems no compelling evidence to suggest this will be a problem, you can expect heightened tensions on the issue. In fact I would go so far as to say that George Bush will elevate the issue to attract votes in the forthcoming election due 5th Feb 2008. I expect that he will attempt to make China the centre of US economic malaise…though he is running out of time to escalate the issue. So this I think will be like another Iraq – a single issue to polarise simple Americans worried about the economy (that’s the housing market folks). Anyway all the huffing and puffing will be good for gold because:
1. It draws attention to the USA trade deficit
2. It escalates a major point of conflict between the USA & China
Frankly I don’t think this strategy will work in his favour – Americans are becoming more cynical…or at least the press is, so that will feed through to the general populous.

Reason is the standard for debate.

- Andrew Sheldon

Monday, August 06, 2007

Greater political representation for expatriate Australians

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I am not a constitutional expert by any means, though I suspect there are other bi-cameral (2-house) parliamentary structures around the world that offer upper house representation on the basis of residence. My specific interest and understanding comes from the Australian parliamentary system. We have 2 houses:
1. Lower House - House of Representatives - elected by each person according to the majority of seats won in each electoral constituency. The party(s) with the majority of seats in this house form the government.
2. Upper House - Senate - elected by each person according to a majority of seats won in each state where the distribution of seats is geographically equally dispersed and not based on population concentrations.

The intent of this system is to afford greater protection to the smaller states which would otherwise lack representation in the government. The implication is that people should have representation on the basis of where they live. It therefore strikes me as reasonable that Australians living abroad should have separate and distinct representation in the Australian parliament by virtue of living abroad. This is not to suggest that they should have a political party, but rather than there should be another electorate which comprises Australians living abroad. This seems particularly sensible given that the powers of government seem to extend offshore and that little ocnsideration is given to expatriates - by virtue of being absent. The Australian parliament duly recognised the needs of expatriates by holding a parliamentary inquiry into their needs. Though that inquiry appeared to have come to nothing.

Notwithstanding the flaws of our parliamentary system, it would seem appropriate to adopt an electorate of 'Abroad'. It would seem logical that an ambassador or expatriate would seek office for this seat if uit were ever to be established.
You might ask why should expatriates have separate representation? I can think of several reasons:
1. They have very different and distinct issues from resident Australians
2. They pay higher rates of tax than resident Australians, yet use fewer services
3. They have less contact to local political issues as resident Australians, effectively rendering their vote in 'local elections' as useless. In conrast, if there was an expatriate electoral MP then Australians residing abroad could lobby and receive material consonate with their interests.
It must be remembered that there are about 1 million Australians living abroad and that they represent 5% of the 20mil total Australian population. It is fair to say they would be a political force if they were given independent representation.
The proposal before you is not a ludicrous proposition given that our parliament already recognises the need for representation of minorities from different geogrpahic regions. In fact, given that the 'tyranny of distance' between Canberra and Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth and Brisbane has been removed by modern transport and communications, then dont expatriates living abroad have a more compelling claim to a Senate seat than resident Australians. We have to understand that the globalisation of internaitional markets means that there are far more Australians living abroad than 100 years ago when the constitution was adopted.

It seems clear that either expatriates should be given due representation or that the provisions for a senate be erased because they are no longer pertinent to the era of modern communication and transport.

Reason is the standard for debate.

- Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?